Aditya Thackeray speaks to Varun Singh on the recent controversy over Bigg Boss, the book ban and his imminent entry into politics
The familiar Sena tiger roars out of the cub's saffron t-shirt, as if to ward off potential threats.
It is the appropriate attire for Aditya Thackeray, grandson of Bal Thackeray and son of Uddhav Thackeray, who will make his much-anticipated entry into politics this Dussehra as the head of Sena's youth wing, Yuva Sena.
What is Yuva Sena? It is a base for the youth to become leaders, create leaders, express their opinions and solve problems. The need for Yuva Sena came up because the scope of Shiv Sena and its student wing, Bhartiya Vidyarthi Sena (BVS) are expanding rapidly. The age level for members will be between 14 and 40, while for post bearers, it will be between 20 and 30. It will be a blend of 'hosh' and 'josh'.
Aditya Thackeray asks the university to include Red Saree in the syllabus first and then lift the ban on Rohinton Mistry's book
Is Yuva Sena being formed to attract supporters who are shifting to MNS? No, this is not a party formed to accommodate or appease people. There are many neutral people with no political affiliations who are willing to join the party.
Do you believe that you are targeted by the media? Sometimes. But it doesn't bother me because I know my conscience is clear. What hurts though is when the good actions are not noticed while the negative aspects makes headlines. However, people who have read about me in the newspapers recently are strangely only commenting on my appearance.
Your recent actions suggest a hard-line attitude. Comment. It is not about being a hardliner. It is about adjusting to a certain situation. My father has this attitude which the Yuva Sena will also adopt, that is 'co-operation with possible aggression where necessary.'
How do you justify the recent ban on Rohinton Mistry's 'Such a long Journey'? It is a question of people's sentiment and India is a very sensitive country. There is a man (Balasaheb Thackeray) who has millions of followers and the author insults him purely on the basis of his own opinion and not the facts. That is where the problem lies. If this ban is such a big issue, then how does anybody justify the ban on Red Saree (Sonia Gandhi's biography)? Isn't that undemocratic too?
But in this case, even teachers and students have opposed the ban. At the same time, there are many who were also angry that this book was a part of the syllabus. We are not against people buying or reading the book. It is available at bookstalls for people who want to waste their money. Even the CM commented on the ban saying that history cannot be changed for political parties. If so, then I want to ask the university to include Red Saree in the syllabus first and then lift the ban on Mistry's book. In fact, the current government was responsible for removing a chapter on Afzal Khan from history textbooks. Wasn't that changing history as well?
How do you react to your college principal's (Dr Frazer Mascarenhas S J) statement against the ban? It is his personal stand and I respect that. He has been a guiding force throughout my college life.
Will Yuva Sena be a 'poster party'? Absolutely not, party members will be instructed to not indulge in putting up posters and hoardings, like the ones wishing me "Happy Birthday". I find these practices very vulgar. I feel that instead of putting up posters, they might as well be donating to charity.
Who made the decision to appoint you as the head of Yuva Sena? The central party panel that decided that I should lead and I seized the opportunity.
But your appointment suggests the party's preference to dynasty politics. What is wrong in involving the younger generations of the family? If the heir apparent is ok in business, why should it be termed bad in politics?
So then is there no difference between Sena and Congress? In Yuva Sena, if a member works diligently for the party, then they will be welcomed even if they don't have any political background.
You are still in college. Won't these activities affect your studies? Actually, my dad has the same concern. But everything is working out properly. My friends and colleagues help me out with the academics.
Do you agree with Sena's stance against Bigg Boss? Besides the Pakistani celebrities on the show, our apprehension is also against the thieves and dacoits on the show. If they want to show us criminals, why don't they telecast CCTV footage from Tihar Jail? The whole TV culture is only about TRPs and it is damaging the social fabric.